Artist donates paintings to hospital that saved her sight 193



By Karrie Gillett

AN artist who faced going blind has donated a series of one-off paintings to the medical staff who saved her sight.

Professional artist Miriam Vickers feared the possibility of losing her sight in one eye two years ago after suffering complex retinal detachment.

But after undergoing major operations at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh, her sight was restored and she was able to continue painting.

Now, Miriam has created a series of six paintings to line the ward in the hospital where she was once a patient.

Miriam, 61, said: “I was in a real mess the first time I came to the eye pavilion and I really thought I would never see again.

“I was very scared as all of a sudden life really changed for me.

“Over the next six months I had some real difficulties as the staff here battled to save my eyesight. I got so much support from them and this is my way of saying thank you.”

Miriam, who has a studio in the Stockbridge area of the city, said she was sitting on a chair on the main corridor in the ward where she had just had an operation when she was able to see a painting on the wall out of the corner of her eye.

She said: “It was a really bad old-fashioned picture and I just thought it was terrible that it was one of the first things I was able to see.

“That was really the very beginning of the idea that I could do something to make a difference for other patients.”

And a few months after her surgery, Miriam and the Art in Healthcare programme, set about having her paintings displayed in the hospital thanks to funding from the MacRobert Trust and the Scottish Arts Council.

Now her work is being hung in ward E2 alongside a series of poems written by award-winning poet Gerry Loose which have been painted on the stairwell of the Eye Pavilion.

Dorothy Grant, charge nurse at the eye hospital for more than 30 years said Miriam’s paintings made a massive difference to the ward.

“It’s definitely brightened the place up. It’s been very positive for some patients who come in here and they can’t see much at the start.

“We are able to show them Miriam’s paintings when they start to recover and they take some comfort from her achievements.

“It’s a real light at the end of the tunnel for them.”

The aim of Art in Healthcare is to commission permanent artwork that patients and visitors can enjoy.
Margaret Hurcombe, executive director of the project, said: “We are delighted to have been able to commission these pictures and poems for the Eye Pavilion.

“We hope that they will brighten up the corridors and waiting areas and get everyone talking about them.

“They will be seen by thousands of people, some who may be anxious or concerned, waiting for consultation and treatment.

“They will also be seen by the very many staff who work here. We hope that the pictures and poems make this a better place for them, too.”